Historically, Presidential Inaugural Addresses have sought to inspire and unite the nation and provide directional leadership for the next presidential term. Perhaps to some, Monday’s speech did that. But to adherents of American exceptionalism, it was disconcerting. The president’s speech was laced with references to our founding principles; but their meanings were twisted, misrepresented, and stripped of their historical and definitional significance.
God was mentioned seven times in the address, which may exceed the number of times the Almighty has been invoked by Obama over the past four years, which made their invocation seem superficial. The Constitution was mentioned once, at the very beginning, citing his second term as evidence of its “enduring strength” (in spite of the fact that he has stretched and distorted that document’s limitations on the executive branch beyond recognition of the founding fathers so dramatically during his first term.)
Even the Declaration of Independence was cited along with those eternal classical-liberal ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that led to the severance of our relationship with Great Britain and the perceived tyranny of King George. It was no surprise that he was reticent regarding the breadth and scope of our current federal government, which arguably wields immensely more tyranny over the American people than the British crown held over colonial America.
Even free market economics were mentioned, although it was in the context that the omnipotent and omniscient federal government must constrain and control it.
Clearly, through artistry and manipulation, precept-by-precept, the principles upon which the American republic was established were being redefined. Those tenets, which are distinctly and singularly American, which once were the pillars that the nation stood upon, were going through a historical revision right before our eyes. They were being reframed, redefined, and reshaped to fit a new progressive lexicon of American patriotic buzzwords that vitiate their original meanings.
The Constitution seems to have relevance since it returned him to power for another four years. But in terms of governance, it seems that to him, it has lost its applicability to 21st century American politics since he can issue Executive and Administrative Orders that circumvent the very document he moments earlier swore he would uphold and defend.
God has no relevance in the godless, morally relativistic, and warped values of the ideology that seeks to make omnipotent government the central component in every American life, replacing an omnipotent deity. As the president’s campaign website so proudly portrays with its “Life of Julia”, the government is to be there at every turn and juncture in the life of the average American: governing, regulating, “helping,” and “supporting.”
And perhaps most invidious of all, Obama presented a perverted sense of “liberty.” No spurious redefinition of liberty could be more antithetical to the founder’s intent than “being true to our founding documents … does not mean we all define liberty in exactly the same way.”
In any language and any culture, liberty is synonymous with freedom. Not just a freedom “to,” as in “to do something,” but also a freedom “from,” as in freedom from control, repression, and tyranny. Each time liberty or freedom were mentioned, the words rang increasingly hollow and meaningless. For freedom to, and freedom from, have an inverse relationship to government growth, government power, and government control, which have dramatically increased over the past four years.
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